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Eastern Kentucky University students and others will have the opportunity to learn from “one of the world’s most influential scientific minds” when botanist Pamela Soltis joins the 2017-18 Chautauqua lecture series on Thursday, Nov. 30.

Soltis’ lecture, “Transformation and Conservation: Climate Change and the Southern Landscape,” will serve as the ninth installment in the year-long lecture series discussing transformations. Free and open to the public, it will begin at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building. The event also serves as the annual Bruce MacLaren Distinguished Lecture.

Soltis, who earned her doctoral degree in botany from the University of Kansas in 1986, currently works as a Distinguished Professor of Botany at the University of Florida. She and her husband, Doug Soltis, also a Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida, work together to study the origin and evolution of flowering plants, plant genome evolution and conservation genetics. They are also strong advocates for increasing public understanding of biodiversity, and are known for their “tree of all life” metaphor used to explain the importance and connectivity of all species.

In addition to teaching and advocacy, Soltis has authored or edited 11 books, hundreds of articles, served as an editor for more than a dozen journals and served as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation. She also serves as the principal investigator at the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolutionary Genetics, director of the Biodiversity Institute and formerly as president of the Botanical Society of America. She was recently elected as a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Soltis lecture will be sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science, and the Office of Graduate Education and Research.

For more information about the Chautauqua lecture series, visit, or contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Erik Liddell at